Quality of life in dementia: are the views of care home staff and relatives the same?

CLAHRC PhD Sarah Robertson is focusing on the quality of life of people living with dementia. Part of Sarah’s work compares the perspective of paid and family carers in quality of life. In a blog published on the Economic and Social Research Council website Sarah discusses the views of care home staff and relatives.


Applications open for our HEENCEL CLAHRC Fellowship Scheme

Are you a nurse, midwife or allied health professional looking to develop your career as a clinical academic?

Would you like time and support to develop an application for external research funding to take your academic career to the next level?

Health Education England working across North Central and East London (NCEL) has commissioned the NIHR CLAHRC North Thames Academy to run a research fellowship scheme for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, for a fourth cohort.

A full list of eligible professions is available here.

This exciting scheme provides opportunities for fellows to develop their career as a clinical academic and access support from within the NIHR CLAHRC North Thames to develop an application for external funding to undertake further postgraduate study.

Read more about the scheme and how to apply on the CLAHRC website.

Saturday June 10th event – Make a difference in health research

Our friends at the NIHR North Thames Clinical Research Network are organising an exciting free event on Saturday June 10th at St Thomas’s Hospital

Map here: https://goo.gl/maps/R9kFVU1Y7o62

Its your chance to find out what research is going on in your area, and how you can get involved. You can also watch a film about involving patients and the public in research called “People are Messy” Check out the flyer below

Register here: http://bit.ly/2rEQokI


Free workshop on June 22nd – Embedding innovation in the NHS: patient, practice and system perspectives

Embedding innovation in the NHS: patient, practice and system perspectives

22nd June 2017, 12-4.30pm

Woburn House, 20-24 Tavistock Square, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9HU


This half-day workshop will bring together a diverse audience for lively debate and discussion about current practice in the UK’s health care innovation landscape. The workshop is a response to one of UCL’s current policy ‘grand challenges’ – understanding how innovation can be successfully embedded in the NHS, and what learning can be applied from other sectors.


To address this challenge, the workshop will provide a forum for exploring different perspectives on health care innovation. It will introduce tangible examples of where health innovations have been successfully developed and implemented in the NHS in recent years, highlighting the types of support mechanisms and collaborations that have made this possible. Patient demands for innovation will be discussed, as well as the organisational and system level interventions being used to drive innovation forwards in the NHS, such as new models of care.

The workshop will bring together different communities of practice to share their knowledge and experience – inventors, charities, NHS representatives, industry, academics and researchers, and those involved in policy. The format will be a mixture of panel discussions and guest speaker presentations, with time for wider group discussion and networking.


Confirmed panellists / contributors include:


Charles Tallack, Head of NHS Operational Research and Evaluation, NHS England

Katherine Langford, Programme Lead Health and Social Care, The Innovation Unit

Dr Liz Mear, Chief Executive, The Innovation Agency and Chair of the national AHSN Network

Prof Naomi Fulop, Professor of Health Care Organisation and Management, UCL


Date and timings: 22nd June 2017, 12pm – 4.30pm (drinks and networking 4.30pm-5pm)


Please register your attendance at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/embedding-innovation-in-the-nhs-tickets-34217322934


Acknowledgements: This event is funded by a UCL Policy Engagement grant and is hosted by UCL’s Department of Applied Health Research and Health Services Research UK (HSRUK). It is kindly being supported by individuals at The Innovation Unit, The AHSN Network and UCLP. For more information, contact Dr Jean Ledger: j.ledger@ucl.ac.uk



Photograph selected in competition for UCL India Voices poster

Congratulations go out to Jennifer Martin, who has had an image she took in India chosen to represent the UCL India Voices project in 2017.

A PhD student with the Nurture Early for Optimal Nutrition (NEON) project, Jennifer took the picture while conducting research with women in Mumbai. After submitting it to a UCL photography competition, Jennifer’s photograph was selected as the image for UCL India Voices poster.

Advertising UCL’s Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding India Voices cross-disciplinary programme of film, debate and the arts, the poster can be seen across UCL.

Details of the India Voices programme can be found on the UCL Grand Challenges website.

Trends in evidence use in public health decision-making

A new CLAHRC publication offers valuable insight into the types of evidence used by decision-makers working in public health. In 2013, responsibility for public health services and planning shifted from the “health” boundary to local authority control. These services can range from health checks to open access sexual health.

CLAHRC researchers examined English local public health decision-making in a new review of what evidence is used and how by those planning, designing and commissioning services.

The review, published in a new paper in the Journal Implementation Science identifies three clear trends in evidence use

  • the primacy of local evidence
  • the important role of local experts in providing evidence and knowledge, and
  • the high value placed on local evaluation evidence despite the varying methodological rigour.

Barriers to the use of research evidence included issues around access and availability of applicable research evidence, and indications that the use of evidence could be perceived as a bureaucratic process.

This is part of a wider project entitled Exploring decision-making processes and knowledge requirements in public health


Read the full paper

Kneale et al. Implementation Science (2017) 12:53
DOI 10.1186/s13012-017-0577-9
The use of evidence in English local public health decision-making: a systematic scoping review

A fantastic free event to celebrate life changing research

Each year, the International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world on or near the 20th of May in order to celebrate the day that James Lind started his famous trial on the 20th of May 1747.

On Wednesday 24 May this year, Barts Health NHS Trust (in association with Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry) will be hosting Research Matters event as part of the annual celebration of International Clinical Trials Day. This programme will feature talks from award-winning academics and clinicians, patients and others, to showcase the high quality clinical research taking place within Barts Health hospitals. For the full programme and to register your place: https://researchmatters2017.eventbrite.co.uk

There will also be a number of additional activities taking place in May in support of International Clinical Trials Day.  Look out for information stalls at Barts Health hospitals, where you will have a chance to talk directly to research staff and learn more about ways you can get involved in clinical research.  For more information see: www.bartshealth.nhs.uk/takepart



Event date: Wednesday 24 May 2017
Event time: 5pm until 6.30pm, followed by drinks reception (approx. 1hr)
Event registration: https://researchmatters2017.eventbrite.co.uk

Formal invitation to Research Matters

Involving patients and the public in writing academic papers

Proving that there is always value in involving patients and the public in research, however complex and technical the topic may be, the CLAHRC’s lay document reviewers have been acknowledged in a prestigious British Medical Journal paper.

CLAHRC patient and public partners who make up our “virtual” panel of reviewers were involved in producing an academic paper published in the prestigious journal – the Standards for Reporting Implementation Studies (StaRI) statement.

The final published article in the prestigious British Medical Journal

In order to improve the way studies are reported in journals, researchers  developed a checklist to include all the information an author needs to report in order to make sure that readers are clear on:

  • how the research was done
  • how the results were analysed
  • what the results might mean for treating conditions or health services

Researchers at the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research developed the STARI checklist to help researchers report implementation studies –  studies that develop strategies to implement interventions that have been shown to be effective but which are not yet part of routine practice.

This was described as a “difficult” request for patient and public involvement by researchers due to the complexity of the material.

Our reviewers were asked to rate the paper under a number of headings including

  • the importance of the topic
  • the papers potential to impact patient care
  • how easy the check-list would be for researchers to use
  • how easy the paper was to read and follow

The reviewers feedback on the draft was “very helpful” and they were duly acknowledged in the final publication which we believe sets a good precedent for future PPI in writing academic papers.

Full paper details

Pinnock Hilary, Barwick Melanie, Carpenter Christopher R, Eldridge Sandra, Grandes GonzaloGriffiths Chris J et al.
Standards for Reporting Implementation Studies (StaRI) Statement


“Getting help for forgetfulness”: Encouraging timely help-seeking for dementia in Black African and Caribbean families

A project under our mental health theme focuses on improving the care of Black African and Caribbean people with memory problems, which can be an early warning sign for dementia. We know that Black African and Caribbean elders develop dementia earlier, and seek help later than their white peers.

This delay can greatly impact access to care and support, and reduce the independence of dementia patients prematurely.

We have carried out extensive engagement work within this community – running focus groups and conducting interviews to find out the perceptions and beliefs that prevent people visiting their GP when memory problems first arise.

As well as disseminating our findings we have concentrated all the learning from the project into a new leaflet “Getting help for forgetfulness“.

We co-designed this leaflet with patients and the public and it aims to encourage health-seeking behaviour among elders encountering memory problems.

It answers questions about symptoms, sets out what help is available and why you should visit your GP, and provides useful information and contacts.

We trialled the leaflet in patients without a diagnosis of dementia in several GP practices and they liked it.

We can provide printed copies to the NHS, community and voluntary groups and charities – just contact us with your needs.

Email Moïse Roche to order copies of the leaflet – m.roche@ucl.ac.uk

Evaluating a Healthy Schools programme – our report and recommendations published

School-based interventions to increase health and wellbeing

The health and wellbeing of school children is a pressing concern in England, with a  growing prevalence of obesity and diabetes in childhood. It is also widely recognised that a child’s emotional health and wellbeing influences their cognitive development and learning, as well as their physical and social health and mental wellbeing in adulthood.

These increased concerns, aligned with a better recognition of the emotional and mental health needs of children, led the Greater London Authority (GLA) to develop and co-ordinate a school based health programme to improve health and wellbeing for all pupils in London.

The result was the development of the GLA’s Healthy Schools London programme (HSL) launched in April 2013 and co-ordinated by the Greater London Authority (GLA). The programme encourages schools to adopt a whole school approach to combat the specific health and wellbeing needs of their pupils by developing their policies and procedures.  HSL recognises and rewards the schools’ endeavours through a system of awards: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

A CLAHRC North Thames project recently completed a two-year evaluation of the programme. The aim of the evaluation was to assess the contribution of the programme to improving educational attainment, and health and well-being, among schoolchildren in London. It was funded jointly by the GLA and the CLAHRC, and was conducted between 2014 and 2016 by Dr Harry Rutter and Dr Andrew Barnfield from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

We conducted literature reviews, focus groups in 20 schools, interviews with 6 directors of public health and directors of children’s services, focus groups with borough leads, interviews with the GLA core team and borough leads, and two assessment visits to special schools. We also conducted an online survey across all participating schools, with a total of over 450 responses.

Was HSL effective in its aims?

Our evaluation

  • Assessed the potential for the HSL programme to influence educational achievement, promote healthy lifestyle behaviours, and reduce health inequalities in London
  • Investigated the extent to which becoming a Healthy School is associated with changes in school-level policies, and activities.
  • Assessed the nature and level of engagement with the HSL programme by schools, including any differential uptake by socio-economic factors, and to understand the drivers and barriers to becoming a Healthy School
  • Provided recommendations to inform the ongoing development of the HSL programme

The evaluation concluded that HSL provides a valuable mechanism to encourage change at school level. Among a suite of recommendations, the evaluation suggested that:

  • HSL would be strengthened by encouraging schools to work more closely together.
  • A mentoring programme could help to spread best practice between schools,
  • There is scope for stronger links between school sand local communities.
  • The implementation of a programme to enhance health and wellbeing provision in early year’s settings could provide an additional mechanism for health improvement, and promote school preparedness among the capital’s children.

Read the full report and recommendations